Entrance exams for an Master’s in Special Education degree represent one of the biggest components of admission to today’s most competitive programs. These exams help admissions committees determine which applicants to the program are more likely to be successful, largely by measuring their aptitude and their dedication to studying and preparing for the exam itself. In the vast majority of cases, applicants to a Master of Special Education program will be required to submit GRE scores from a test taken within the last five years. Generally, schools enforce several requirements and measurements that help applicants prepare for the test and evaluate their admission prospects prior to even submitting the formal application.
- Online MSEd in Special Education (Ranked #11 Best Online Master’s in Special Education Program by U.S. News & World Report 2021)
- M.Ed. in Elementary Education and Special Education (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Moderate to Severe (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross Categorical (Leads to initial teacher licensure)
- BA Special Education (Mild to Moerate) - Leads to single licensure in K - 12 special education; MA Teaching, Special Education (K-12)
Test Score Evaluation: How GRE Scores Factor into Program Admission
There are several metrics used to determine how a GRE score reflects the applicant’s chance of success in an Master’s in Special Education program. First and foremost, schools will look at the overall GRE score earned on the highest-scoring exam and then compare that to the current percentile tables for GRE scores. Students that score above the 50th percentile are typically deemed those most likely to succeed in the program, though scoring below this benchmark is certainly not a disqualification from admission to the program.
Next, schools will break out a score into its individual verbal and quantitative components, comparing the applicant’s score on each section to the score of their peers both in the program and in the general GRE pool. This helps the school determine an applicant’s strengths, especially their communication skills. These skills are critical to becoming a successful educator.
Master’s Applicant Evaluation Goes Beyond the GRE Exam Result
A high GRE score will gain applicants a bit of extra attention from the admissions committee and open the door to further consideration. However, a high or low score is not the only factor used when determining admission to the program. Indeed, most schools proudly advertise that they consider the applicant’s full profile and all of the supporting documentation that they submit with their application. This includes their undergraduate performance, their professional and academic references, and relevant work experience. Some schools even use interviews to assess the nature of an applicant’s abilities and the role that their Special Education degree will play in their professional development.
Because more and more schools are requiring supporting documents from applicants, and more applicants are applying after achieving significant professional experience, the GRE should be considered just one part of the process. Furthermore, applicants can retake the exam as many times as they want, with universities typically recommending no more than 5 attempts at mastering the GRE for best results.
The GRE is Just One of Many Application Requirements
With strong test preparation, an understanding that retaking the test may boost scores, and a robust selection of supporting documents and professional recommendations, even an entrance exam requirement can be overcome by prospective Master’s students. As students consider whether or not they should be fearing required entrance exams for an Master’s in Special Education program, they’d do themselves a favor to consider studying, supplementing, and interviewing, to gain the best shot at admission no matter what their GRE score is.